Penguin against a blue sky by James Welch
Bajo Girl by Rita Henke - MNHP
Perfect Reflection by Tom Critchley - MNHP
marine and natural history photography student work

Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons)

Tell powerful conservation stories with your camera.

Key details
Location
Penryn Campus
Course duration
3 years / 4 years
Attendance
Full-time / Professional Placement
UCAS code
WF67/FY20/PY37

Course overview

Join a passionate group of environmentalists who believe that images can change the world. Evolve as a skilled communicator, exploring important and powerful ecological and conservation issues and bring them to life with your camera.  

Combining the rigour of research with the creativity of storytelling, you’ll expose some of the biggest challenges that face people and planet, while celebrating the beauty of nature. 

Based in some of the most outstanding landscapes in the UK, you’ll learn from award-winning and industry-connected photographers, expert filmmakers, explorers and scientists, gaining career-boosting insights and opportunities during your studies.  

While developing technical proficiency, we also encourage students to think critically, to ask questions and to challenge patterns of thought and behaviour to make a difference.  

Why study this course at Falmouth?

  • Cornwall’s diverse marine and land environments will be your studio – you can get from campus to coast or moorland in a matter of minutes   
  • Rivalling professional studios, our facilities and stores are stacked with high-spec digital and analogue equipment and are some of the best of any UK university 
  • You'll gain insider insights and professional connections through masterclasses, guest speakers, field trips and live briefs 
  • We encourage adventure – former students have travelled to the Ecuadorian rainforest, Indonesian coral reefs, and Norwegian glaciers to produce their Major Projects 
  • You’ll become part of our close-knit, globe-trotting alumni that have picked up huge commissions (BBC, Netflix) and awards for their work 
  • As part of our supportive creative community, you’ll start building your professional network from day one of your degree 

Lead images by James Welch, Rita Hencke, Tom Critchley and Chloe Russell.

Course details

BA(Hons) Marine & Natural History Photography course video

You'll develop a passionate understanding of earth’s habitats and fragile ecosystems while mastering the technical film and photographic skills to create images that inspire, move and educate audiences.   

As well as developing an industry-ready portfolio of original work, you’ll graduate with the professional skills to turn your creative practice into a rewarding career.  

Course study options & full details    

You can gain your Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons) degree in three years or choose to add an Integrated Foundation Year and/or professional placement year. Discover the full course details for each study option, below.    

You'll practice photographic skills alongside research and critical thinking. During this year, you'll explore biodiversity and habitat, as well as the marine environment, and will participate in a number of local field trips to land and marine environments. 

Modules

Developing Practice

In your first module, you'll be introduced to basic photography skills and camera techniques. 

Research and Critical Thinking

Establishing research and critical thinking skills, you’ll learn how to generate ideas, understand the impact of photography and improve your writing. 

Biodiversity and Habitat

In this module, you’ll study and photograph the intricate web of life in a local habitat. 

Exploring Practice: Land or Underwater

For this module there are two options. You can explore further photographic skills on land or practice them in an underwater environment.  

To qualify for the underwater photography option, you must have achieved the PADI Rescue diver qualification (or equivalent ie. BSAC Sport diver) by the start of the academic year. 

Communicating Nature

Through lectures and live examples, you’ll learn to communicate scientific ideas through text and photographic sequence. 

The Marine Environment

You will explore and photograph the seashore right on our doorstep and learn about important ocean issues. 

Alongside studying moving image and still photography, you'll develop your research and critical thinking skills, explore global conservation, and get ready for your own research project. You will also get the opportunity to undertake a short period of work experience. 

Modules

Extending Practice: Land or Underwater 

Choosing between the Land or Underwater option for this module, you’ll practice advanced techniques through the development of an independent project. 

To choose the Underwater option, you must have completed the Exploring Practice: Underwater module in your first year. 

Introduction to Filmmaking 

Through the process of producing a collaborative short film, you’ll learn how nature and environmental films are made. 

Conservation Stories 

Examine conservation issues and learn how visual media can have a huge impact. 

Photography of the Natural World 

In this module, you’ll learn how photographers use images to make a positive difference and produce your own portfolio. 

Independent Filmmaking Practice 

Working independently, you’ll create and produce your own short film about people and planet. 

Work Experience 

You will spend a short period of time undertaking work experience in a relevant professional context. 

You will be responsible for finding and securing your placement, with support from course lecturers.   

You can choose to take an optional professional placement after your second year on a three-year programme, or after your third year if you’re studying for a degree with an Integrated Foundation Year. 

You’ll be responsible for finding your own placement, with support from the Employability team. 

Choosing this option will enhance your industry experience and skills while studying. 

How you’ll study during your professional placement 

You’ll spend time working in a professional context, as part of a business or organisation. This can be in one role, or up to three, and must be for a minimum of 24 weeks. 

You’ll develop in-demand workplace skills, deepen your insight into industry and grow your network of contacts, all of which could help you get ahead in your career after graduation. 

Throughout this year, you’ll develop a portfolio of work that includes critical self-reflection on what has been learned from the experience. You’ll be required to evidence your experiences, the skills you’ve learned and your professional growth. 

In your final year, you’ll create your Major Project using still or moving images, or a combination of both. You will support this with an extensive piece of writing about the subject of your project, along with a career plan to help you move into your chosen area of the industry. 

Modules

Project Development

You’ll research and begin to develop a major project using still or moving image. 

Culture and the Environment

You’ll research and write an extended essay on the subject of your major project. 

Major Project

This module marks the culmination of your studies. You’ll complete your Major Project and produce a professional portfolio ready to take into industry.  

Professional and Entrepreneurial Practice

With support from lecturers, you’ll develop a clear plan showing how you intend to move into your chosen area of the industry after graduating. 

Why study an Integrated Foundation Year route? 

If you’re taking on a new subject that you haven’t studied in depth before, have been out of education for a while or have a non-standard educational background then an Integrated Foundation Year degree may be the right choice for you. It is a four-year degree with an Integrated Foundation Year to start, which allows you to explore the primary elements of your subject before progressing on to the remaining three years of the BA(Hons) degree. 

What you'll study in your Foundation year

If you choose this pathway, you'll study five core modules in your Foundation year. These are all designed to help you explore the foundational elements of your subject. You'll gain relevant technical skills, learn to experiment and take risks, develop an understanding of professional practice, have opportunities to work across disciplines and collaborate with other students on live project briefs. 

Modules

Explore

You'll begin your foundation year by working collaboratively with others to explore themes of the future. You'll take risks, experiment through play and be supported to break through barriers.

Technique

You'll take subject-specific workshops and develop essential technical and practical skills in your area of study. You'll also enhance your analytical and organisational abilities.

Apply

You'll work with your peer group to think beyond discipline by addressing a societal or global issue. You'll then showcase your work to your peers and deliver and accompanying evaluation of your process.

Industry

You'll enhance your creative and practical skills in your subject specialism by responding to typical industry briefs, underpinned by focused research and experiments. You'll also gain industry insights through guest lectures and workshops.

Launch

You'll develop your unique identity in your specialism through the production of a self-initiated body of work. Your final project will be the bridge to your next year, fully supported by evaluative reviews and critical analysis of the work you have created.

After the Foundation year, you progress into Year One of the full three-year degree, equipped with a deeper knowledge of your subject, a clear understanding of your strengths, and develop a practical and technical skillset and the confidence to excel in your chosen subject. 

 

 

If you apply for and enrol onto a degree with an Integrated Foundation Year, you’ll have the option to switch onto a five-year version including a placement year. That means you’ll complete the first three years of your course before completing a placement in industry in your fourth year and returning to Falmouth for the fifth year of your programme. 

The Integrated Foundation Year pathway for this course is new for entry year 2023 and subject to validation.

As part of our process of continuous improvement, we routinely review course content to ensure that all our students benefit from a high-quality and rewarding academic experience. As such, there may be some changes made to your course which are not immediately reflected in the content displayed on our website. Any students affected will be informed of any changes made directly.

Rita Hencke - Bajo Girl Southeast Sulawesi
Rita Hencke - Bajo Girl Southeast Sulawesi - middle focus - MNHP

Bajo Girl by Rita Hencke

What our students do

As a student on this Marine & Natural History Photography degree, you'll have the opportunity to join international expeditions. Previous expeditions have included the Red Sea and the Galapagos Islands. 

Make sure to take a look at our full showcase below to see what our students have been up to lately.

View showcase

 

How you'll learn & be assessed

You’ll learn through field trips, photographic and scientific excursions, technical workshops, lectures, seminar, and tutorials. 

The Marine and Natural History Photography course includes an optional underwater programme. In addition to diving in Cornish waters, those undertake this option have the opportunity to practice their skills in the Red Sea. 

In the final year of the course students pursue an independent major project. This can use either stills or moving image, or a combination of both, to tell stories from anywhere on the planet.  

Students have previously created projects that have documented climate change in Norwegian glaciers, conducted research in the Ecuadorian rainforest, filmed conservation work in the Amazon, and told the story of the indigenous fishing community of the Bajo. 

At Falmouth, we use a 'digitally enhanced learning & teaching' approach. Your experience will always be predominantly in-person, including seminars, tutorials and studio teaching, with some, more targeted elements, being online either live (synchronous) or pre-recorded (asynchronous). You can read more here.

100% of your assessment will be coursework. 

Assessment methods

  • Foundation year assessments are 100% coursework based  
  • Practice-based modules will be assessed on the presentation of portfolios, including preparatory work.  
  • Critical studies modules will be assessed on written assignments or presentations. 
  • In the final year, you’ll be assessed on your major independent project which is supported by an extended piece of contextual writing and a professional portfolio.  
  • Feedback is given throughout the modules to help you improve your work. 
marine and natural history photography student work
marine and natural history photography student work

Image by: Jack Mifflin

Facilities

  • Multiple studios, darkrooms and print suites 
  • Photography store containing a wide range of professional equipment free to loan.  
  • Macro and long lenses, macro flash, infrared triggers and time-lapse and underwater cameras 
  • Specialist underwater cameras for students qualified to dive 
  • Digital suite with Adobe software 
  • Photo-microscopy laboratory 
  • Digital and traditional processing facilities 
  • Walled garden with fully equipped hide for nature study, photography and filming 
Falmouth Photography lecturer using camera equipment in a studio
Photography lecturer using camera equipment

Photography Facilities

Housing dark rooms, post-production suites, full professional studios and gallery, our Institute of ...

Photography Facilities
Library facilities
Library facilities

Library Facilities

Offering extensive collections, our two libraries provide a wealth of digital resources, magazines, ...

Library Facilities
Falmouth University Sports Centre building exterior with blue sky and a path
Sports Centre - Outside
Sports Centre

Sports Centre

Our Sports Centre, on Penryn Campus, includes a spacious gym with up to 90 of the latest, new statio...

Sports Centre
marine and natural history photography student work
marine and natural history photography student work

Image by: Nick Jarvis

marine and natural history photography student work
marine and natural history photography student work

Image by: Arnie Monteith

marine and natural history photography student work
marine and natural history photography student work

Image by: Bijay Gurung

Staff

You’ll be guided and supported by practising photographers, scientists and explorers. Their careers span working and exhibiting photographs internationally, producing wildlife films and leading expeditions.

Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every staff member who teaches on the course.

Daro Montag profile picture

Dr Daro Montag

Associate Professor of Art & Environment

Daro Montag's art practice has, for over thirty years, been involved with environmental and ecologic...

Dr Daro Montag

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones

Associate Professor of Environment and Culture

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones is an environmental historian and expedition leader.  Huw ...

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones
Goodman

Gina Goodman

Lecturer, Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons)

I am an award-winning underwater photographer, diving instructor, and enthusiastic lecturer with a d...

Gina Goodman

Jane Morgan

Dive Safety Officer and Dive Technician

Jane's career began as an IT trainer at News International in London. However, after discovering a p...

Jane Morgan
Placeholder staff profile picture

Justin Quinnell

Associate Lecturer Photography

Bristolian pinhole photographer and camera obscura creator who dabbles in other stuff. Been tea...

Justin Quinnell
Helen Perkins staff picture

Helen Perkins

Dive Safety Officer

I graduated from Plymouth College of Art and Design in 2000 where I specialised in fine art landscap...

Helen Perkins

Dr Joanna Henley

Senior Lecturer

I am a marine educator with a PhD in the visual communication of marine science. I joined the M...

Dr Joanna Henley

Dr Tim Cockerill

Senior Lecturer

Dr Tim Cockerill is a zoologist, broadcaster and photographer. Tim specialises in documenting a...

Dr Tim Cockerill
Anna Roberts profile picture

Anna Roberts

Senior Lecturer, Marine & Natural History Photography

Director/Producer with a breadth of experience in natural history and presenter-led formats, working...

Anna Roberts

Claire Braithwaite

Lecturer BA (Hons) Marine and Natural History Photography

Claire Braithwaite is an artist and photography educator with over 12 years experience teaching acro...

Claire Braithwaite
William Arnold portrait

William Arnold

Lecturer, Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons)

William Arnold currently teaches on BA Marine & Natural History Photography. He is an experim...

William Arnold

Mark Wallwork

Technician, The Institute of Photography

I studied a BTEC national diploma photography at Wigan and Leigh college in 2002 before enrolli...

Mark Wallwork

Kate Bell

Photography Technician

I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan in 2007 with a First Degree Hons in BA Photography. During ...

Kate Bell

Dr Andy Webster

Associate Lecturer, Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons)

Andy is an artist and educator with over 20 years of experience teaching across HE settings. Andy wo...

Dr Andy Webster
Oli Udy

Got a question about this course?


If you want to know more about the course structure, our application requirements or what our graduates have gone on to achieve, our friendly course team is here to help.

Chat to Oli
Different types of fish

This course could be for you if...

  • You have a passion for photography and the natural world.
  • You want to build on your technical knowledge and skills.
  • You've got good visual awareness.
  • You want to research, write and analyse photographic subjects.

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Careers

Our graduates have worked as:

  • Filming for BBC One Show 
  • On-line content for BBC Spring Watch 
  • International Oil Spill Reaction Team 
  • PA to Mike Gunton (BBC NHU Creative Director) 
  • Founder of the Heart of Borneo Project 
  • Wildlife Cameraman for BBC, Netflix, Nat Geo, Disney 
  • Researcher BBC NHU 
  • Tech Assistant at Silverback Films 
  • Researcher at Nature Picture Library 
  • Marketing Campaign Executive at National Trust 
  • Founder of Armstrong Fortescue Expeditions 
  • Filming Sir David Attenborough  

Sam Stweart filming on beach in Alaska
Sam Stewart - Filming Alaska

Image credit: Sam Stewart

How to apply

Ready to join us? You can apply for September 2024 through UCAS. You'll need to reference the course and University code (F33).

Apply via UCAS

Course route UCAS code
Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons) three year degree WF67
Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons) with Integrated Foundation Year FY20
Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons) with professional placement PY37

We consider all applications on their own individual merit and potential. We invite all applicants to an interview day or audition to give them the opportunity to demonstrate this along with what inspires and motivates them in their field. Applicants will also be able to show their portfolio or give a performance depending on the course. We welcome applications from all subject backgrounds, whether you’ve specialised in STEM, the arts or humanities.  

Course route Entry requirements
BA/BSc(Hons) three year degree 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points
BA/BSc(Hons) four year degree with professional placement 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points
BA/BSc(Hons) four year degree with Integrated Foundation Year 80 – 120 UCAS Tariff points

Check the title of your course to see if it's a BA or BSc award. UCAS Tariff points will primarily be from Level 3 qualifications such as but not limited to A-levels, T Levels, a BTEC/UAL Extended Diploma or a Foundation Diploma. 

Check how many points your qualifications are worth

For applicants whose first language is English we require you to have or be working towards GCSE English Language Grade 4 (C), or equivalent. 

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the same standard which is equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of in country equivalencies and approved tests.  

If you need a student visa to study in the UK, you may need to take a recognised language test. You can read our English Language Requirements for more information.

For starting your studies in 2024

UK applications: 31 January 2024 (for equal consideration)

Applications after the 31 January will be considered on a first-come, first-served as long as there are places available. Apply for this course now.

International fee payers

International fee payers can apply throughout the year. But we recommend applying as early as possible, to make time for visa and travel arrangements.

Entry requirements for optional Underwater Photography module

  • PADI Rescue diver or equivalent ex. BSAC Sport diver
  • Medical clearance to dive. 

Please note that without the above, you can still partake in water-based photography, but you won't be able to join dives. 

For more information, click the button below:

Underwater Photography Registration
 

Fees, costs & funding

Tuition fees for September 2024 entry

Annual tuition fee Student
£9,250 per year Full-time UK
£17,950 per year Full-time EU/international
£1,850 per professional placement year Full-Time UK and EU/international

Tuition fees for September 2025 will be confirmed in summer 2024.

Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may therefore raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible. 

The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs

Typical course costs

Recurring annual costs 

  • £100-£350 - Recurring annual costs (photographic materials, etc) 

One-off costs for the duration of the course 

If not already owned the following will be required: 

  • £500-£1000 - A digital SLR camera of reasonable quality with manual over-ride to any automatic settings 

  • £500- for a PC laptop or £1,200 for a MacBook 

  • £300-£400 - Appropriate outdoor clothing (waterproofs, boots, backpack)  

  • £100-£600 – Preparation of final portfolios or shows, etc) 

Optional study trips 

  • £2000 - Optional study visits and placements for the course duration 

If you need to bring equipment or materials with you, these will be outlined in your Welcome Letter.

  • £250 for materials
  • A laptop/desktop computer
  • Adobe Creative Suite

To engage in the digital learning activity, although you will be able to access IT suites on campus, you will benefit from a laptop to access the platforms and tools we use. Depending on your subject, you may need a specific type of computer. If you're unsure about what you might need, please contact our course advisors.

Ask a student

What better way to find out about life at Falmouth University than by asking our current students?

From course details and academic support, to the social scene and settling in, our students are ready and available to answer any questions you might have. Simply set up your account, send them a question and they'll get back to you within 24 hours.

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